Second Union

Second Union


Samuel L. Jackson and Cobie Smulders in Columbia Pictures’ SPIDER-MAN: ™ FAR FROM HOME.

The explosions pop; the visual effects sizzle, and the wonder continues to be just as wondrous in one specific format: IMAX.While this piece is in no capacity sponsored or interfered by IMAX, I simply can’t keep quiet about how wonderful seeing Spider-Man: Far From Home in the format was, especially after a mostly glowing review of the film just a few days ago. However, the intentions of article go much deeper than that. The summer of 2019 is proving to be a mixed bag, with disappointing financial returns from the multiplex and a rather tame roster of films in general. And while cinephiles still have faith in Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and the Jon Favreau-directed The Lion King, the simple truth is that pushing out the twelve dollars to see the latest blockbuster is proving to be difficult for a crowd of audiences that would much rather pirate the film than hand the deservedly earned money to the filmmakers and studios. Simply put, when a true event film rolls around, with Far From Home most definitely falling under that category, it’s important to recognize why seeing films on the big screen is key for the survival of the industry. And if you are going to try to remind people why seeing films on the big screen is important, what better way to do that then handing them a ticket to see one of the biggest blockbusters of the summer on the biggest screen and experience possible? 

Spider-Man: Far From Home has been specifically formatted for IMAX screens, meaning that in specifically chosen scenes, usually action sequences, the black borders on the screen will disappear and the image will fill up the entire screen. And while IMAX would certainly like you to believe otherwise, judging by how they promote each release, not every film is specifically formatted. For example, just earlier this year, Shazam! burst onto screens, including the IMAX format. However, during the film, no such transition to a full-scaled image ever occurred, and it looked more like the film was just stretched to fit on the massive screen, rather than having visible accommodations in picture quality. Films like these are often a mixed bag for the format. On one hand, seeing films in the thundering audio system that only IMAXtheaters provides is undoubtedly breathtaking. But on the other, when ticket prices for the format rocket past twenty dollars, it’s not difficult to see why the format and company at large have been struggling as of late. 

Tom Hollan in Columbia Pictures’ SPIDER-MAN: ™ FAR FROM HOME

So how does Jon Watts’ Spider-Man: Far From Home play a factor in any of this? Far From Home isn’t a tentpole film in IMAX’s catalog by any stretch of the imagination, an honor reserved for films actually shot in IMAX, like Avengers: Endgame and the Academy Award-winning Dunkirk. These films do admittedly make a better case for why the format is so brilliant than Far From Home ever could. But still, just seeing the dazzling visual effects is quite simply eye candy and is the best treat for any hardcore Marvel fan.

Jake Gyllenhaal in Columbia Pictures’ SPIDER-MAN: ™ FAR FROM HOME.

At this point, it’s unlikely that IMAX will ever regain enough popularity to make it back into the mainstream’s eyes. The ticket prices are simply too expensive, and the catalog of films that actually call for such a format is dwindling, despite a massive blockbuster seemingly coming out every single week at this point. But Far From Home is no doubt in that catalog, providing another reason for the seeing of films on the big screen still has a future, even when the summer of 2019 doesn’t reflect nearly as well. 

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